If you were expecting some kind of sun sign nonsense, forget about it. This is real astrology for the real world. If it's real astrology for yourself that you want, you can get it by phone or in print. And if you need help deciphering the astrological glyphs in the graphics accompanying this article, see Astroglyphs: Astrological Symbols Guide. Please note: this forecast is expressed in terms of Universal Time (UT).
No one can say my forecast for the month didn't provide timely advance notice: "Expect surges in storm and seismic activity around the 2nd, 5th, 10th, 13th, 19th, 23rd, 26th and 30th - all give or take a day or so." In Honduras and Nicaragua, unrelenting rainfall on the 1st and 2nd prevented emergency aid from reaching the thousands of homeless Hurricane Beta victims who were stuck in storm shelters in the record setting hurricane's wake. (The Atlantic hurricane season's 23rd tropical storm, Beta set a mark for the number of named storms since record-keeping began back in 1851. It hit Central America on the 30th, during an interval described in my October forecast as a time of "strong storm and seismic activity . . . in effect from the 28th on into early November.")
Deadlier by far was the tornado that tore through Indiana and Kentucky early on Sunday the 6th, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 200. The twister left a path of destruction about 20 miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide, officials said. Severe tornadoes are rare in the U.S. Midwest in November, according to the National Storm Prediction Center. Be that as it may, twisters swept across two counties in Iowa on the afternoon of Saturday the 12, killing one woman and ripping up farms and dozens of homes in the towns of Stratford and Woodward. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack declared the two hard-hit counties disaster areas. Only a few days later, nearly three dozen of the killer cyclones tore through the Midwest on Tuesday the 15th, as colliding weather systems spawned funnel clouds and tornadoes in parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center had preliminary reports of at least 35 tornadoes in the five states, and at least two people were reported killed by the storms.
On the seismic front, a severe Richter 6.0 temblor rattled Pakistan and Kashmir on Sunday the 6th. It was followed a couple days later by a pair of quakes that shook Vietnam on Tuesday the 8th, a 5.1 and a 5.2 that sent people fleeing from their houses. Both tremors had offshore epicenters, but were felt 120 miles away in Ho Chi Minh City. An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale struck eastern Indonesia on Saturday the 12th, followed a few days later by a 6.9 temblor that shook northern Japan on Tuesday the 15th. (Authorities asked thousands of residents to flee their homes as small tsunami waves hit the Pacific coast.)
Natural disasters are unavoidable, but the human-caused variety are particularly tragic because they don't have to happen. Crime, terrorism and war all require intent, decision and action on the part of human beings - who if they made other choices, could avert destruction. And careless inattention can be just as dangerous, if not as culpable. Unfortunately, as noted in my forecast, there's so much Mars action going on this month that peace and security are bound to be in short supply. "From collective violence like war to individual violence like murder and other criminality (and including that strange twilight, terrorism), from accidents and crashes and fires and explosions due to recklessness or evil intent and sometimes just plain bad luck," I wrote, "November is yet another adrenalin surging month."
Sadly, from the very outset, November has continued and intensified the violence and criminality that's been so evident during the Red Planet's close approach to Earth. The infamous French riots that began on October 27, just a few days before the Mars perigee, have only grown worse with each passing night. By Tuesday November 8, when French President Jacques Chirac declared a state of emergency, more than 300 towns had been hit, more than 100 police officers and firefighters had been injured (some shot), nearly 5,000 cars and buses (and dozens of buildings) had been set afire (along with two people, including a woman in a wheelchair) . . . the insanity intensified, just as predicted. To add insult to injury, the perpetrators are outraged at being called "scum" by France's Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy. Let me see . . . what do you call people who set a disabled woman on fire, anyway?
Arr! Even pirates respond to the Mars factor, apparently. The luxury liner Seaborn Spirit, carrying at least 600 tourists from Europe, narrowly escaped seizure by gunmen off the pirate-infested Somali coast on the 5th. Armed pirates in speed boats fired on the cruise ship which escaped into the high seas in a hail of gunfire.
And then there were the suicide bombers on hotel row in Amman, Jordan on the 9th. The fanatics killed themselves, which is all well and good. But unfortunately, they killed dozens of innocents and wounded scores more. It could have been even worse, had it not been for one of the attacker's bomb malfunctioning. Sometimes, we can be grateful for the Murphy's Law component of Mercury's intersolar period. It manifested again in the town of Batu in the East Java province of Indonesia the very next day, when one of Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorists was killed during a gun battle with police. Azahari Husin, dubbed the "demolition man" by newspapers in his native Malaysia, was the suspected brains behind several bomb attacks on Western targets in Indonesia and the top bomb maker in Jemaah Islamiah, a terror network linked to al Qaeda. Apparently, Azahari had tried to blow himself up during the police raid, but failed to detonate a bomb in time. "He was not able to reach the button (of a bomb) because officers shot him first," according to national police chief General Sutanto.
Speaking of Mercury being intersolar, it's a cycle that began on the 3rd, when the swift little planet reached its maximum elongation east of the Sun. This is the phase of its orbit when Mercury is on the same side of the Sun as Earth, and relatively near us. Speedy Mercury catches up to Earth during this phase of its orbit, passing us on the 'inside lane', as it were. This phase lasts until December 12, the day of the little planet's greatest elongation west of the Sun. And it includes the infamous Mercury retrograde cycle of astrological lore and legend, the time when Mercury moves backwards in the skies of Planet Earth. (It's not really moving backwards, of course; it's just that Mercury flies past us so fast that it appears to be moving in the wrong direction.) My forecast spelled out what to expect, and prominently mentioned on the list was strikes, among other things. Surprise! Hundreds of thousands of workers staged what unionists called the biggest protest in Australia's history on Tuesday the 14th. Major cities were brought to a halt by masses of chanting marchers - a half-million strong nation-wide - accusing Prime Minister Howard's Liberal-National coalition of attacking the Australian way of life and trying to crush the trade unions. In France, unions representing train workers have called for a nationwide strike starting Monday the 21st, following a breakdown in negotiations on the 14th. And as of the 17th, the threat of a strike at Delphi (GM's major parts supplier) has General Motors teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
Being "on the wrong side of Murphy's Law" is a prominent theme in the Mercury intersolar period, and the infamous Mercury retrograde. Japan's space agency (JAXA), which suffered another glitch in its mission to collect surface samples from asteroid Itokawa and return to Earth, ran head-on into that principle on Sunday the 13th. That's when the robot lander released from their Hayabusa space probe got itself lost in space. Oh well.
"Human error and in some cases intentional mischief disrupting electrical and electronic systems" is typical of the Mercury intersolar period, and a prime example reared its head on November 16. That's when music company Sony BMG, yielding to consumer concern, announced that it was recalling music CDs containing copy-protection software that acts like virus software and hides deep inside a computer. Sony BMG has used the XCP copy-protection software on 49 titles from artists such as Celine Dion and Sarah McLachlan and produced an estimated 4.7 million music CDs. Around 2.1 million units have been sold on to consumers. The software installs itself on a personal computer used to play the CD in order to guard against copying, but it leaves the back door open for malicious hackers. Sony announced in a separate statement it would distribute a program to remove the software from a PC where it jeopardizes security - and that's where this story really goes Mercury retch. According to computer security experts, Sony BMG's patch does not remove the program, and it still leaves a security hole on the infected PC. First they screw up and screw up your machine, then they screw up the fix so that your machine is still screwed up after they fix it. Stay tuned.
Breakdowns in power systems are another sign of the intersolar Mercury, and sure enough they're going around this month, from blackouts and brownouts in South Africa's Western Cape on the 11th and 16th to blackouts in England on the 15th and 16th. Fires - predicted to accompany this month's strong Mars factor - played a part in the South African as well as English power disruptions, as flames cut power lines in both instances.